Today’s original heading was It Doesn’t Happen Often, But I Actually Find I Am Outraged Today (snappy, eh?). I am a Yankophile and would probably vote Republican if I was an American citizen, but I came across an alert that said, Vote Republican: Together, we can Prevent access to healthcare, and I felt my blood boil for the first time since British Gas tried to lure me back as a customer; the same British Gas who charged me three times as much as any other utility supplier has ever done and treated me appallingly for the privilege.
I had marshalled a stern retort to the offender and written my own post exposing the nastiness of American politics, before I had even had time to click the mouse on the offending blog. When I did, all I got was this picture. I tried to find somewhere to comment and it was then I realised I was on a sales website and the logo was a pig, not an elephant. Looking closer, I realised it was a cushion with a satirical message. It gave me a good laugh.
It has done its job because it set me thinking about my own situation. Without access to free healthcare I could, quite literally, have died last week. I had a nasty infection that floored me even with two sets of antibiotics. We have no spare cash; I could not have afforded those antibiotics if I had needed to pay for them. The infection could quite easily have turned to septicemia without antibiotics. I can go back further: I had my wisdom tooth out because I have had two infections in the past two years caused by its awkward position in my gum; I can’t afford to pay for dental treatment. This blog might never have existed and my children would have been motherless today if I had not had access to free treatment for the infections.
I don’t believe I am being melodramatic: people die from septicemia every day. I once worked with a man whose sister died after giving birth because she had needed dental treatment while pregnant and refused it because she didn’t want to harm her baby. It was too late for her by the time she delivered. It was tragic but, in her case, she had the option of treatment. Millions of people around the world don’t have that option, including in America. I sincerely hope President Obama succeeds in his reforms despite the opposition. I know there were similar arguments against our own NHS before 1948, but I am so glad they didn’t win that fight, and I have the healthy gums to prove it.